Clare and President danger | 

Donald Trump may jet into Doonbeg, Co Clare, to avoid Joe Biden's inauguration

The toxic president famously called his private Palm Beach Club in Mar-a-Lago his winter White House but his nearest neighbours have voiced legal objections to Oval Office occupant spending his post-presidency in the Florida sunshine.

There are concerns Donald Trump will fly to his Doonbeg golf resort

Exclusive by Lynne Kelleher

As Donald Trump finishes his presidency with one of the most shameful episodes in US history, rumours are rife he may take an Air Force 3 jet to the west of Ireland to hole up at his Doonbeg golf resort.

A source close to the Trump administration says the New Yorker had been considering flying across the Atlantic on January 19 - the day before Joe Biden's inauguration.

The toxic president famously called his private Palm Beach Club in Mar-a-Lago his winter White House but his nearest neighbours have voiced legal objections to Oval Office occupant spending his post-presidency in the Florida sunshine.

He has golf resorts in Ayrshire and Aberdeenshire in Scotland; however, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has sternly warned President Trump that he would not be welcomed to play golf as the country entered another strict lockdown.

In Clare, the Doonbeg resort is currently shut, with only security staff manning the stunning links on the edge of the Atlantic.

Donald Trump has visited on a handful of occasions but his son, Eric Trump, is the family member directly in charge of the resort.

Donald Trump may try to weather political storm in windswept Doonbeg resort

Staff were "not aware" of any plans for the president to arrive at Doonbeg on the last day of his presidency. There was a visit by the Secret Service to the property in the weeks before Christmas, but locals also say agents do routinely visit the west Clare property.

While Scotland's First Minister has objected to Trump arriving in Scotland, local Fianna Fáil TD Willie O'Dea compared the outgoing Oval Office occupant to dictator Robert Mugabe.

"I mean, this guy had tried to subvert American democracy. He is indirectly responsible for the deaths of the five people who died as a result of the invasion of Capitol Hill.

"People who don't accept the result of elections and who invite their followers to attack democracy and to behave as Trump supporters behaved, I mean people like the late Robert Mugabe spring to mind.

Trump’s motorcade on his last visit to Doonbeg

"I would put Trump almost in the same category. He models himself on Putin, he is a megalomaniac and can't accept defeat.

"This guy owns a golf course in Scotland, and he owns commercial property here. The Scottish have taken a certain stance and they have been admired by real democrats all over the world.

"I see no reason whatsoever why the Irish Government shouldn't take a similar stance."

Mr O'Dea added: "There is a lockdown in place here."

Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter this week took to Twitter to voice his opposition to Donald Trump spending his post-presidency in his west of Ireland resort.

He said: "As a former Minister for Justice, I believe it essential the Government makes it clear Trump is not welcome in Ireland after exiting the White House.

"There is a reasonable possibility of his prosecution for sedition and other criminal offences. We should not get embroiled in an extradition issue."

Police arrest some of those who stormed Capitol building

Mr Trump is expected to avoid his properties in his home state of New York as litigators and prosecutors await the loss of his presidential privileges which have protected him from prosecution.

Fianna Fáil's Willie O'Dea, also voiced concern that President Trump could be potentially facing charges if he decided to winter on the Clare coast.

"While we don't want to anticipate prosecutions, it's a very real possibility.

"If a case is put forward and someone has to answer the charges, if the person in question is an American and they are living in Ireland and didn't answer the summons then they would have to be extradited."

Local Doonbeg shopkeeper, Rita McInerney said it is normal to see occasional visits from Secret Service in the village.

The owner of McInerney's XL grocery store in the west Clare village said the people of Doonbeg try to stay out of politics.

"In our mind it is separate to our association with the Trump organisation. We have the same views as everyone else in terms of being saddened at the scenes in Washington.

"Some people agree with some of his policies, some people disagree with his policies, we're the same as everyone else.

"It is very easy for people to criticise us for engaging with the Trump organisation, but to us it's our project, it's the biggest employer in west Clare. That's the reality in rural Ireland.

Donald Trump has been roundly condemned for inciting the invasion that led to five deaths

"There are 300 people employed there in the height of summer....There isn't a parish in west Clare who doesn't have someone working in Trump's... The property was there before Trump took over, it will be there for time to come. They are the fourth owners of the property."

Ms McInerney said the village has a warm relationship with Eric Trump, who is in charge of the property.

"Eric, who is the boss man, he is the person that runs the property on behalf of Trump International.

"Before Covid they would have visited four or five times a year. That famous visit to the pub during Trump's visits to us wasn't unusual."

The Department of Foreign Affairs said this week that the US Embassy arranges foreign trips for sitting Presidents, but the US Embassy didn't have any comment on Trump's travel plans.

A source in Washington said they were unaware of plans to visit Ireland, while US outlets are reporting Mr Trump will travel to Florida the day before the inauguration.

The White House did not reply to questions on whether Mr Trump will be heading to Doonbeg.

A spokesperson for Shannon Airport said yesterday: "Shannon Airport has not been contacted in relation to any proposed visit to Ireland by President Trump."

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